Hybrid Mice as Genetic Models of High Alcohol Consumption
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We showed that F1 hybrid genotypes may provide a broader variety of ethanol drinking phenotypes than the inbred progenitor strains used to create the hybrids (Blednov et al. in Alcohol Clin Exp Res 29:1949–1958, 2005). To extend this work, we characterized alcohol consumption as well as intake of other tastants (saccharin, quinine and sodium chloride) in five inbred strains of mice (FVB, SJL, B6, BUB, NZB) and in their reciprocal F1 hybrids with B6 (FVBxB6; B6xFVB; NZBxB6; B6xNZB; BUBxB6; B6xBUB; SJLxB6; B6xSJL). We also compared ethanol intake in these mice for several concentrations before and after two periods of abstinence. F1 hybrid mice derived from the crosses of B6 and FVB and also B6 and SJL drank higher levels of ethanol than their progenitor strains, demonstrating overdominance for two-bottle choice drinking test. The B6 and NZB hybrid showed additivity in two-bottle choice drinking, whereas the hybrid of B6 and BUB demonstrated full or complete dominance. Genealogical origin, as well as non-alcohol taste preferences (sodium chloride), predicted ethanol consumption. Mice derived from the crosses of B6 and FVB showed high sustained alcohol preference and the B6 and NZB hybrids showed reduced alcohol preference after periods of abstinence. These new genetic models offer some advantages over inbred strains because they provide high, sustained, alcohol intake, and should allow mapping of loci important for the genetic architecture of these traits.